MARICOPA — A key inefficiency that can come from a new city could be on its way to getting cleaned up.
The city of Maricopa is opening a bidding process for companies to become the sole resident waste pickup vendor inside its limits. That process will take up the next several months, and the results of the bids will be brought before council to see if they want to move forward with the change in the system.
Currently, every homeowner association is responsible for creating its own contract with a waste pickup company, which means service providers can vary from subdivision to subdivision. This also leaves each HOA with the burden of managing trash contracts.
For those who don’t live in such a neighborhood, like the Heritage District, the current model is even more inefficient. Each residence is responsible for its own trash service, and thus must choose the provider. This can lead to a situation where two houses using one company such as Waste Management can sandwich another property that uses Right Away Disposal. And yet, everyone has to pay for those trucks’ mileage.
The city aims to streamline the process by contracting once company for every residence in the city. Officials believe that doing so would relieve the burden from the HOA’s while lowering rates for HOA residents and making life easier for people in the Heritage District.
“This is something that is going to benefit everybody, but it’s especially going to benefit those living in non-HOA areas,” said Councilwoman Nancy Smith. “It’s very important.”
City Manager Rick Horst said the request for bids is being left intentionally open for interpretation in order for the city to get a grasp about what different levels of service would cost. The proposals could include regular bulk trash pick-up like many HOAs enjoy now, for example, or they could simply offer bulk trash requests.
Once all those proposals are in, the city and council will then decide which plan gives residents the most for their buck. Horst said if the proposals don’t actually present significant savings, they could always stick with the status quo. Horst said HOAs will be providing data to the city so officials can compare the options as accurately as possible.
“We currently have vendors who are not meeting the statutory requirements of this city,” Horst said. “We’re looking to bring parity to this process so everyone is treated as equals.”
He added that state statutes give cities the right to utilize the same waste company throughout its limits, meaning that if they sign a contract, every HOA would be obligated to switch to that company.
If a contract is signed, residents would still be billed directly by the company. If it is the company a resident currently uses, that could be as simple as just changing an account number. If it’s a different company, they will be transferred over and likely will have to exchange trash bins.
Mayor Christian Price expressed some skepticism over whether a full re-vamp is the way to go, but said he wants to see all the options before making a change. One possibility he raised is to have a contract that would just apply for the Heritage District without impacting the other neighborhoods.
“We’re gonna have to really do our job of selling this to the public that it really is a benefit,” Price said. “I don’t want my skepticism to derail the process of trying to find a benefit here, but we do need to prove that it is in fact a benefit.”